It really doesn't matter if I use a picture of Tajga or Jolly for the top picture of thus post, cause they are almost identical. But this kitty you see above is in fact baby girl Tajga.
I've been busy with TNR this year but still a few escaped me and got busy making babies before I could get to them. This means 3 litters were born this spring and a lot of new cats have to go to the vet. Maggie was the first kitten to go into the trap and Tajga went into it a few days later.
I got Tajga to the vet where she was neutered, vaccinated and got ear tattoos (you can read about ear tattoos in our FAQ). Tajga was born around May and was 4 months old at the time. She was a very nice and clean kitty for a feral and had no worms or anything bad.
Tajga is a russian term that means pine wood forest or boreal forest. I named her Tajga as the area we live in is pine wood forest and the name also sounds like "tiger".
Before I started TNR on the kittens, I set up a wildlife camera for a few days. This gave me an overview of how many kittens needed to be TNR'ed. But the counting wasn't always easy as a few of them look a lot alike. So it took me multiple views of the same recordings to realise that Tajga and Jolly were two different cats. Tajga is more spotted on one side and Jolly has more white on the back of his neck. But their faces are completely identical.
I caught Jolly the day after I released Tajga. Even though I knew she had a twin I wasn't really sure if I had caught the same cat again. I had to use my flash light to see if the cat in the trap had any ear tattoos. Jolly had very dirty ears, which made it difficult to see, but I could see he had hair in his ears, which was shaved off on Tajga. My vet does the ear tattoos by hand and is very skilled at making them clear. So if in doubt, it means they don't have tattoos. But still wasn't a 100% sure before I could see the ears in daylight.
It surprised me that Tajga's twin was male, because he seemed smaller than her. They also have another sibling that seem a lot bigger and I figured it was the only boy in the litter. But tiny Jolly is indeed a dirty little boy. I gave him the name Jolly as he resembles another one of our TNR cats named Cola. While the first two kittens I caught were very clean and healthy, Jolly was dirty, had a belly full of worms and had several ticks.
Jolly's weight suggested that he was a couple of weeks younger than Tajga. This made me question whether he was in fact the brother of Tajga. But they are so much alike, that I find it unlikely. Instead I believe he is the runt of the litter who lost the battle at the milk bar. Hopefully his name will help him to a brighter future. Being neutered will definitely make life easier for Jolly, as he does not have to fight over the ladies.
I was lucky enough to see Jolly get his ear tattoos. As he was sedated I actually got to touch him as well. This is the first time I ever got to pet one of my feral cats <3
Jolly was released at night, so it was too dark to film his return to freedom. But he ran straight home, just like Tajga and was reunited with his big happy family.
Birk was the last of this litter to go into the trap. I've called her Birk from the begining, which means "birch" cause she has spots like a birch tree. It sounds like a boys name and probably doesn't work in English, but I just can't imagine her with any other name, so I'm keeping it anyway. Here you can see the pretty lady.
A surprise for the vet!
Birk was pretty calm in the trap and she was nice to the vets too. She started giving the vet trouble when she was sedated and they were about to open her up though. First they couldn't find her belly button. They kept shaving her belly to find it and it was placed rather unusual. Once they found the belly button and made the incision there was something wrong inside her too. They couldn't find her ovaries and had to make a bigger cut. They finally found one very deform ovary and neutered her. Since her operation got more extensive than usual the vet decided to keep her overnight to make sure she recovered and got more painkillers before being let back out again.
With such deformity she was probably already sterile, but there was no way to know that. At least we are sure now. Maybe getting pregnant would have killed her even? Birk went back into the trap less than a week after being released, so the vet visit couldn't have been that bad.